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DateLine Wednesday, 04 April 2007

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Southern Province to become major economic centre soon - President

WEERAKETIYA: When the Southern Province becomes Sri Lanka's second major economic nerve centre, we should be able to overcome the challenge of producing sons and daughters of Ruhuna with the necessary intellectual capacity to enjoy the benefits of that development, said President Mahinda Rajapaksa.

The President made these observations in a special message issued to mark the opening of the 'Upekka Bo Sevana', Buddhist centre at Hakuruwela, Weeraketiya, set up under a project sponsored by the Upekka Buddhist Foundation of Singapore recently.

The President's message read out by Irrigation and Water Management Minister Chamal Rajapaksa.

He said, "I consider that the setting up of a building complex replete with a computer centre and a pre-school at my birthplace by the Buddhist fraternity of Singapore as an honour bestowed on me.

This area has been represented in Parliament by members of my family including my uncle, late D. M. Rajapaksa and father, late D. A. Rajapaksa. Therefore, the setting up of this facility in our regions is a great honour bestowed on us."

The message also said: "It is our objective to develop the Southern Province in line with the Western Province.

Already foundations have been laid for some major development projects in the South to make this objective a reality. Among them are the Hambantota Port, Weerawila International Airport, Koggala Hotel Management School, Matara-Kataragama Rail road and Southern Expressway Projects.

"These projects will help transform the Southern Province into Sri Lanka's second largest economic nerve centre in the near future. "Therefore, we should have a labour force with intellectual capacity in Ruhuna.

The new computer centre and pre-school at Hakuruwela, Weeraketiya will be an impetus for achieving this objective. We convey our greatful thanks to Ven. Kotawaye Khemarama Thera and all other donors who pioneered this project," the message said.

Irrigation and Water Management Minister Chamal Rajapaksa addressing the gathering said: "This Buddhist centre is a great resource for this region. Kotawaya has become another Singapore with the establishment of this Buddhist centre.

But long ago Sri Lanka was a model for Singapore. Today, after fifty years, we consider Singapore as a model.

Ven. Kotawaye Khemarama Thera made the welcome address. Earlier, Hunupitiya Gangaramadhipathi Ven. Galaboda Gnanissara Thera, Chief Sanghanayak of Colombo Nava Korale delivered a special anusasana.


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